Map of Eritrea
UNICEF photo: Two children in Zoba Anseba visiting a health center receiving support by UNICEF. © UNICEF Eritrea/2013/Thompson Two children in Zoba Anseba visiting a health center receiving support by UNICEF.


In 2014, UNICEF and partners plan for:

children aged 6 to 59 months affected by severe acute malnutrition are admitted for treatment


women of child bearing age access improved quality maternity care


children access formal and non-formal education (25,000 nomadic children and 5,000 children in humanitarian situations)

2014 Requirements: US$15,800,000

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Humanitarian Situation


Total affected population: 1.2 million
Total affected children (under 18): 696,000

Total people to be reached in 2014: 850,000
Total children to be reached in 2014: 490,000

Eritrea is located in one of the driest parts of Africa, with hydro-climatic conditions resulting in recurrent droughts, particularly in the Southern Red Sea, Gashbarka and Anseba regions. This, combined with declining aid, has led to severe food shortages which negatively impact the overall health, development and well-being of women and children. During the first half of 2014, these negative trends continued as Eritrea experienced erratic rainfall, shortfalls in food production, rising food prices, and the ongoing economic impact of an unresolved border dispute with Ethiopia. As a result, populations have faced greater household food and livelihood insecurity, with negative impacts for children, including increased levels of acute malnutrition in children under five.1 There are huge regional disparities in sanitation coverage, with the national coverage rate at 52 per cent and rural sanitation coverage at 25 per cent.  Access to safe drinking water remains a significant challenge, as does the operation and maintenance of established water and sanitation systems. Some 33.7 per cent of children between the ages of 7 and 14 years (84,616 males and 99,685 females)2 are out of school, the majority coming from disadvantaged groups with nomadic lifestyles. While there has been a reported downward trend in injuries due to landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) (from 69,755 cases in 2012 to 58,232 cases in 20133), only 25 per cent of mine fields have been cleared to date, and numbers of child deaths and injuries remain alarmingly high.

Humanitarian strategy

2014 Revised Programme Targets


  • 14,000 children aged 6 to 59 months with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) admitted to therapeutic feeding programmes
  • 490,000 children aged 6 to 59 months receive multiple micronutrient supplementation


  • 130,000 children under five years are immunised against vaccine preventable diseases
  • 151,000 children under five years have improved access to specialized neonatal health services
  • 114,000 women of child bearing age have access to improved quality maternity care


  • 10,000 people have access to safe as per agreed standards
  • 20,000 people have information about appropriate hygiene practices

Child protection

  • 300,000 children and young people in and out of school are provided with integrated mine risk education 


  • 25,000 nomadic children have access to quality education
  • 5,000 children in humanitarian situations have access to formal / non-formal education

Under the overall framework of the Strategic Partnerships Cooperation Framework (2013-2016), UNICEF in partnership with the Government of the State of Eritrea is scaling up interventions in the areas of water sanitation and hygiene (WASH), health, nutrition, child protection and education. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, UNICEF is supporting facility- and community-based therapeutic and supplementary feeding, targeting severely and moderately malnourished children under five years. UNICEF is also supporting a small-scale targeted blanket supplementary feeding programme in drought prone areas to prevent the further deterioration of nutritional status of children under five years and pregnant and lactating women. To avert child mortality, UNICEF is providing twice yearly vitamin A supplements to all children aged 6 to 59 months. UNICEF is geographically targeting particularly vulnerable populations, including through its WASH and nutrition programmes in drought prone rural communities, which have a high prevalence of food insecurity and malnutrition, as well as through its Mine Risk Education (MRE) programme in regions impacted by landmines and ERWs.

Results 2014 (January to June)

During the first half of 2014, UNICEF supported therapeutic feeding and micronutrient supplementation programmes reaching some 5,800 children affected by severe acute malnutrition (SAM), aged 6 to 59 months. In June, UNICEF supported the launch of the nationwide Child Health and Nutrition Week (CHNW) campaign which aims to reach 480,000 children by the end of the year. UNICEF in partnership with the Water Resource Department, carried out WASH interventions in remote drought-prone regions of Eritrea, including by beginning construction on the Adi Unday water project in the Southern Red Sea Region which will provide safe water to some 450 nomadic people and their livestock (expected completion date later this year). UNICEF also supported the training of 112 village-level hygiene promoters on appropriate sanitation and hygiene practices, benefitting some 9200 people. Through support to the Ministry of Education, UNICEF helped to train 100 teachers and furnished 90 nomadic schools, benefiting an estimated 12,000 children (45 per cent girls). Through its school-based Mine Risk Education (MRE) programme, UNICEF helped to raise the awareness of 70,000 school children in the conflict-affected communities of Gash Barka and Northern Red Sea, about the threat posed by landmines and ERWs. A strategic partnership on mine-risk education between UNICEF and the Ministry of Education is expected to reach a total of 300,000 children with life-saving information by the end of the year.

Funding requirements

UNICEF is requesting US$15,800,000 to meet the humanitarian needs of women and children in Eritrea for 2014. As of 30 June, 2014, no humanitarian funds (or 0 per cent) have been received against the appeal.  In order to enable it to respond to pressing humanitarian needs during the first half of the year, UNICEF had to draw on non-emergency resources.  Without dedicated humanitarian funding, however, UNICEF will not be able to provide continued support to respond to the country’s continuing nutrition crisis or to provide critical WASH, health, child protection and education services to children in need.

1 This information is based on informal observations as recent data from the Nutritional Sentinel Site Surveillance system is not yet available.
2 Reported in the 2010/2011 Education Management Information System Report.
3 Data from the Health Management Information Systems (HMIS) report.